Linking Is Totally Just Like Plagiarism!

A throwaway line in a story about an actual plagiarism case:

But perhaps the Bulletin is merely on-trend—or even ahead of its time. The Drudge Report, the Huffington Post, and Real Clear Politics have made names and money by sifting through RSS feeds; Tina Brown and Barry Diller are preparing the launch of their own news aggregator. Mike Ladyman and company may simply be bringing guerilla-style 21st-century content aggregation to 20th-century print media: publishing the Napster of newspapers.

Wow. Just … wow. Talk about a boneheaded statement in an otherwise excellent piece about how a pattern of plagiarism was tolerated at an alt-weekly. Far be it from me to defend fucking Drudge, but since when is linking to someone’s work, thereby explicitly GIVING CREDIT PUBLICLY to the original source, on par with stealing someone’s words and using them as your own? Seriously, am I alone in not seeing those two things as the same at all?

Come the hell on here. This kind of thing was cute in 2004, referring to bloggers as remoras or whatever it was Kurt Andersen called us, but it’s 20effing08, can we please find a new target for all our convenient outrage and mockery? Bagging on bloggers is starting to seem about as comedically risky as opining that Bill Clinton likes, on occasion, to sample the intern pool.

Not for nothing, but if Rosen is looking for the Napster of newspapers, all he really needs to do is turn on the local news in any municipality in this country. I’ll feel bad about throwing him a link when he goes after Action News Beaverton 3000 for doing rip-and-read.


Via, as credit is due, Romenesko.


5 thoughts on “Linking Is Totally Just Like Plagiarism!

  1. Jeebus, if that’s plagiarism, every academic paper in history should be bagged as plagiarism.
    Criminy, you tool, one of the best things about the web is that it made looking up a cited source so damned *easy*! And bloggers are pretty damned good at policing themselves on this sort of thing.
    Which is more than I can say for the mainstream media these days.

  2. And a Napster reference? Come on. That’s like talking about the fresh new Eminem album, fergawdsakes.
    Get with the times, douchy.

  3. The truth is bloggers are better about sourcing their commentary than the MSM is.
    Especially the ‘Associated Press’ who refuse to attach bylines to most of their members’ articles.

  4. I used to work as a press aide for a public official. My press releases were frequently plagiarized (not that I cared– I wanted “my guy’s” spin presented intact) by the local news shows (seldom by the local newspaper). Word for word. No shame at all. Then we started doing little mini-interviews with the official, with one of us aides acting as interviewer, and we’d end up, “This is Jane Doe for the Statehouse News Service” (a name we’d given ourselves). All across the state, news shows used these tapes and presented them as if generated by their own reporters.
    Since then, I’ve assumed much of the local news was plagiarized, albeit from sources that didn’t want attribution (like me). I notice that all the local news shows routinely present verbatim press releases whenever the local prosecutor makes some big high-profile arrest (and have nothing to say when so often he quietly drops the charges a few months later).

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